I read with interest a story in the Mail Tribune recently about the state approving funding for a pipeline project for an irrigation ditch operated by the Rogue River Valley Irrigation District. Do you have any more information about the project.

— Jim S., Eagle Point

As you said, Jim, the Mail Tribune mentioned it in an article about a number of state grants coming to Jackson County for various worthwhile projects.

One of them was a $1,985,000 grant for the Rogue River Valley Irrigation District to convert a 100-year-old, open-air irrigation ditch and put the water into a 48-inch pipe.

The existing canal is located at the Bradshaw Drop diversion and Antelope Creek, above Agate Lake and near Highway 140.

As part of the plan, the drop in elevation will produce pressure in the pipeline, and customers along the way will convert from flood irrigation to sprinkler systems.

The upgrade is estimated to save 450 acre-feet of water that will be kept in Fish Lake.

The distance from the Bradshaw Drop to Antelope Creek is 3.3 miles. Leaks are a common occurrence along the canal, so a new underground pipe should solve that problem.

Cost for the project is estimated at almost $6 million. With Bureau of Reclamation grants, the state grant and other sources of money, the irrigation district is close to its fundraising goals.

As a side note, Jim, the irrigation district is investigating using the pipeline project for hydroelectric generation, which could be sold to customers or put into the grid.

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